Finally tired of the squirrels not only stealing the food we put out for the birds, but breaking the containers, we've put a stop to it. We coated the pole of our feeding station with Vaseline - much hilarity was had watching the squirrels trying to climb it. Wish we'd thought of it earlier, would have saved us 4 broken feeders and one split water dish.
Watching through the window while I washed the dishes I saw a crow land on the top of the feeder. He seemed interested in the jackdaw hanging precariously from the fat ball feeder. I'm thinking 'you're too big to do that pal'. So the jackdaw leaves, the crow leans over and calmly lifts the feeder off its hook and throws it on the floor! Spring clothes pegs bridging the gap from hook to arm have put a stop to that one after I got up the next morning to find the empty feeder on the floor 12 feet from the pole.
How have other people counteracted the 'vandal' element your local wildlife?
Hi S.P.L.O I know exactly what you mean with the pesky grey squirrels (or Cyrils as we often call them on here ! ) we have a woodland type garden and at one stage had 21 squirrels running rampant and driving us crazy.... as you can see from this photo with four of them .................
(the squirrels are able to get inside this type of guardian cage)
we also have lots of Corvids (crows, magpies, Jackdaws, Jays) so have to often come up with ideas to try keep the squirrels off the feeders and the corvids from raiding everything in sight ! They are extremely intelligent birds so can work out quite easily how to gain access to the food ! The most effective way to stop the squirrels is to use freestanding feeder poles with fitted baffle domes beneath and to stop the Corvids I use the pitched roof type guardian cage which you can set to narrowest gauge setting which will keep anything Blackbird size and over out of the cage, leaving the food for the smaller garden birds. It doesn't stop the squirrel climbing all over it but the small birds get used to the squirrels around and will time their entry to the cage to avoid being mowed over by the squirrel ! I will add a couple of photos for you so you can see the freestanding pole with baffles and also the guardian cage (only the pitched roof type will keep the squirrels out, I have tried the flat roof type but the squirrels are like mice and can squeeze in through the narrowest mesh)
only this type of guardian cage will keep the squirrels out although a very small baby squirrel could get in; I have used a piece of thick rubber pond liner to drape across the pitch roof so it keeps the seeds beneath dry if the weather turns wet. I tend to remove the tray of seeds at the end of the day to prevent attracting any vermin.
Hope this gives you more ideas so you can feed the smaller birds without having the food raided by squirrels and larger birds
"Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"
In reply to HAZY:
We have 3 crows trying to get the starlings (our noisy neighbours)over the road up in the tiles and back of us there are loads of little ones bt's, robin etc.
In reply to wren:
I'm afraid our garden is tiny, with a paved yard and only a 2 foot border below a hawthorn hedge for our two poles, so the baffle wouldn't help - they jump off the top of the hedge. On the other hand the hedge is a welcome refuge for the 'little fellas' as my hubby refers to them when the sparrow hawk comes calling. He sits frustrated on the top of the hedge while the sparrows swear at him loudly from the safety of their thorny cover.
Our minute 15 foot garden does border a narrow meadow beyond which is a small wood, so we see wood pigeons, magpies, jackdaws, collared doves of the larger birds, chaffinch, blue tit, great tit, dunnock, robin, long tailed tit and coal tit of the smaller ones. Our visiting flock of sparrows is substantial, numbering up to 50 birds towards the end of the breeding season.
I am fairly sure that the close safety of the hawthorne is a big factor in the sheer volume of feathered visitors to our tiny plot.
In reply to S.P.L.O.:
the squirrels are very smart and can work out most times how to get to the food; we had one that could prise the metal lid off a tamper proof cage so we are always having to think up of new devices !! They are so clever that my husband is thinking of giving them his sudoku and cryptic crossword puzzles to finish off lol !!! I guess you already use squirrel proof feeders, it will help keep them from eating all the expensive seed but won't stop them jumping on them and shaking the contents out ! good luck and enjoy all those wonderful birds, sounds like you have some lovely area around and a hawthorn hedge is a wonderful place for the birds to nest and shelter away from the Sparrowhawk.
Fingers crossed, they haven't (yet) worked out a way around the greased pole.
It's been a while now since we started this idea, I thought I'd report back. There is a marked decrease in consumption of sunflower hearts from our feeders, but more importantly, the 'little fellers' are getting unrestricted access. No furry beasts hogging their feeders when they come calling. The 'slippery poles' seems to be a success.
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